Fall Pro Bono Projects in Full Swing: Students Helping Seniors, Veterans, Small Businesses, Immigrants, and More

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Senior Citizens Law Day 2018
Students, faculty, and administrators are joined by Ronnie Sills Lindberg ’14 (daughter of Nancy M. Sills ’76), Hon. Stacy Pettit ’84 (2018 Sills Memorial Lecturer), and Hon. Darius Shahinfar ’97 (Treasurer, City of Albany), at Senior Citizens' Law Day.

It's shaping up to be another productive semester for the Albany Law School Pro Bono Program. In conjunction with the student-led Pro Bono Society—managed by President Kayla DeCelle '20—the Program is overseeing several projects that serve the unmet legal needs of clients in the Capital Region and beyond.

This fall brings the continuation of Albany Law's signature Community Law Day programs, some additional brief advice consultation programs, and other exciting events:

Elder Rights Project Hosts Annual Senior Citizens' Law Day

Albany Law School has convened a community legal information event for senior citizens for decades. Through the support of the Nancy M. Sills '76 Endowed Lecture Fund, the law school has presented timely and excellent content to the aging community and others in the Capital Region. This year's event, held Saturday, October 13, was no different. Student directors Deb Reif '20 and Becca Wager '19 coordinated an excellent day of programming for more than 100 guests, many of whom received free one-on-one attorney consultations. View photos on Albany Law School's Flickr page.

Veterans' Rights Project Plans Veterans Law Day, Convenes Community Partner Groups

Through the generous support of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans' Rights Project has a number of initiatives to answer the unmet legal needs of veterans, service members, and their families, in and outside of our region. Student directors Damara Fredette '19 and Allison Cullens '20 have convened area partner groups and are planning Veterans Law Day, an annual community law day event on November 10, along with summer 2018 Veterans Rights Fellow Douglas Berinstein '20, and Paul Stote '20, who has extensive experience with veterans' law issues from his work with the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs.

New Small Business Pro Bono Project Hosts Brief Advice Clinic at The Legal Project

Longtime Albany Law School partner The Legal Project has for years organized a Small Business Legal Network. Since its founding in 2016, the law school's Community Economic Development Clinic has provided attorney and law-student support to this program. This year, a new student-led Small Business Pro Bono Project has taken on the partnership through the leadership of Community Development Clinic advanced student Alexandria Decatur '19. On Thursday, October 11, the Small Business Pro Bono Project staffed the brief advice clinic along with attorneys from Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP.

Prisoner's Rights Pro Bono Project Registers Voters, Plans Toy Drive

The Prisoner's Rights Pro Bono Project, led by Alexandria Girimonte '20 and Nicole Zagreda '20, recently teamed up with multiple organizations across the Capital Region to register inmates to vote and educate them on their voting rights and eligibility status. The project is planning to organize a toy drive for prisoners in the work release program under the aegis of Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

Immigrant Rights Project and International Refugee Assistance Project Collect Donated Supplies for Refugees, Asylum Seekers

Amanda Paladino '20 has led both the Immigrant Rights Project and Albany Law School Chapter of the International Refugee Assistance. This fall the projects completed a school-supplies donation drive for clients of the law school's Immigration Law Clinic. The drive collected many donations that will be of great use to the Clinic's clients. Additional donations will be delivered to English as a Second Language programs in the community to help other immigrant students.

Young Advocates Project Works with Rensselaer High School Students to Develop Effective Argument Skills

The Young Advocates Project's mission is to educate, mentor, and empower students in the Capital Region about the field of law. Currently, student directors Anisha Ghosh '20 and Marina Chu '19 are leading a collaboration with Tech Valley High School, educating students on some current legal issues, and teaching students how to formulate an effective argument. Additionally, the Project is developing a curriculum with the local chapter of the network group Girls, Inc., which encourages girls to grow up bold, strong, and independent.  

Albany Law School's Pro Bono Program is part of the The Justice Center, which provides free legal services to eligible residents and businesses in the Capital Region. The Clinic's mission is to provide high quality legal representation and to teach students to be skilled professionals who practice law with compassion and sensitivity.